SMG Technologies’ SportsMed Elite mobile application was taken to a whole new altitude when a group of Australian athletes ventured into the Papua New Guinea jungle. The group climbed the historical Kokoda Track, taking part in the 2015 Young Achievers Rugby League Kokoda Trail Tour.
The group of 25 Rugby young achievers and support staff from Queensland and New South Wales, visited PNG to walk the historical trail for three key reasons/aims/motives. The first was for historical reflections on the extreme conditions and challenges faced by earlier generations of young soldiers fighting in the PNG jungle during WWII, what they may have faced and the personal, emotional and physical struggles they addressed. The second was to celebrate their chosen sporting success in Rugby League and their selection to represent Australia in the U16s match v PNG playing before the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s X111. The final motivator for the challenge of the tour was to carry with them and provide much-needed supplies and donations to support local PNG communities.
The Kokoda Trail
One of the world’s greatest and most famous treks of 96 kilometres, connecting PNGs Southern and Northern coasts, the trail passes through steep valleys, jungle, rainforest and rugged mountainous terrain, testing the most experienced of adventurers.
A journey to challenge and inspire, offering a life-changing and unforgettable experience, the selected athletes had never anticipated the true impact of the natural demands the trail faced, let alone what had occurred decades earlier. The Kokoda trail and Sogeri area have a deep history of fighting between the Japanese and Australian armies in WWII. The equipment they carried, the battles they endured and the climatic challenges were reflected on and provided inspiration to the team over the two-week journey.
SMG Technologies Community Engagement
As part of our ongoing work within the community, SMG provides a number of clubs, teams and charitable organisations with aid, technology solutions, gear and equipment to support their endeavours. As a benefit of working with different youth groups, healthcare organisations and medical teams we are able to gain valuable data and insights into impacts of activity for our ongoing R & D, sports and science teams. Our goal is to provide the most innovative and solutions to better support the prevention and intervention and improve the health of individuals and communities.
SMG provided the travelling team with tshirts and walking shoes to physically get them through the trail. However what was also important was to support the ongoing mental, physical and emotional state of the group so we worked with a mobile supplier to provide phones and we gave them access to the SportsMed Elite powerful mobile app.
The SportsMed solution & the journey
The team had 2 weeks travelling time requiring coordination and support. The medical teams managing all injuries and small unique requirements faced as a result of the climate and the harsh conditions. In addition, the team leaders coordinated village touch football and games with locals and an opportunity to give to needy communities on the adventure. The solution that coordinated and pulled all elements together, including individual welfare was SportsMed Elite.
SportsMed Elite is a powerful solution used by the most elite sporting teams in the world – for managing and monitoring both the functions of the club but most importantly, the health, performance and wellness of athletes.
Given the physical and mental challenge of the Kokoda trail it was essential that the youth participants were acutely aware of their own health and wellbeing and any changes they were feeling. It was also important that the support staff travelling with the youth, were aware and could support themselves and the team with any changes in physical, emotional or health needs. Families and caregivers back in Australia were also critical to be updated on the welfare of the travellers.
The mobile app gave each athlete some pre-defined measures for completing daily – available offline, important given challenging connectivity and comfort as a means of communication when able.
The students reported daily their personal health checks by easy to use sliding scale format on measures including; hydration, stomach health, sleep quality and motivation. Any “poor” or minimum defined levels triggered alerts sent automatically to supervisors and medical staff monitoring the wellbeing of the team for immediate support. The technology played a critical role in identifying when a member of the group was at risk and ensured necessary precautions to prevent further injury and illness were put in place.
The technology played a critical role in identifying when a member of the group was at risk and ensured necessary precautions to prevent further injury and illness were put in place. Positive feedback on the system from the tour coordinator included how beneficial the SportsMed Elite mobile application was, claiming it was flexible to individuals needs, easy to use and gave him the ability to manage a lot of features. Considering the youthful experience of the athletes, the system allowed them to become more aware of how their bodies responded to different levels of physical activity.